By: Greg Mohr
The woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. But Jesus said to her, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” And she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.” Then He said to her, “For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.”Mark 7:26–29, New King James Version
This is a story of a Gentile woman—someone who was not in covenant with God—who heard about Jesus, searched Him out, and requested healing for her daughter. In fact, Jesus had entered a house in an attempt to rest and hide out from the multitude, but this woman found Him. Desperate people will spare no means to fulfill their mission. When she finally found Him, she fell at His feet and worshiped Him. By all other accounts recorded in the Word of people falling at Jesus’ feet in worship, and crying out to Him for healing, it is a given that her daughter will receive healing from Jesus.
But wait a minute. This situation is different. The truth is that every situation is different. Jesus didn’t immediately grant her request. In fact, He did the opposite. He said the Jews—the children who are in covenant with God—are first in line for healing. His next response is a shocker. He tells her it isn’t good to give the children’s bread (healing) to the dogs. He called her a dog! What would happen today if any minister of the Gospel responded to someone who was not yet saved, who was requesting healing, and called them a dog? There would be a media uproar and a slander lawsuit filed by the offended party at the very minimum.
Watch this woman’s response. Instead of allowing herself to become offended, she humbled herself before Jesus and simply agreed with Him. Instead of being outraged at the label Jesus placed on her, she used it to her benefit. In effect she said, “I may be a dog, Jesus, but You are good even to little dogs. And even the little dogs feed from the crumbs (of healing) that fall from Your table.” She passed the offense test, stayed in faith by attributing Jesus’ character as good and not evil, and her daughter was healed.
How many times have we failed this test? Each of us has many opportunities to be offended or pass the offense test. Jesus told us that troubles and persecution are sent by the enemy to produce offense in us and rob the Word from us (Mark 4:17). It is our choice how we respond to these situations. Being offended is a decision, not an event. We can choose to get angry at people or blame God, but those responses never produce the desired result. If this Gentile woman had allowed herself to stay offended, her daughter would not have been healed. What is it you desire to receive from God for you and your family? Ask God and then choose this response to difficulties, setbacks, and personal attacks: